Grading the Bears trade for WR N’Keal Harry

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The Chicago Bears’ receiving corps looks a bit different than it did 24 hours ago after the team reportedly agreed to acquire New England Patriots receiver N’Keal Harry for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick.

Harry underperformed in his three seasons as a Patriot, dealing with injury issues and failing to produce consistently when he’s been on the field. The writing was on the wall and his time in New England was already coming to a close with his role being reduced late last season and the team trading for DeVante Parker earlier in the spring.

Now, he has a chance to revive his career as a member of the Bears in a wide receiver room that has plenty of unknowns outside of Darnell Mooney. Here is our initial grade of the trade.

Trade details

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bears receive:

  • WR N’Keal Harry

Patriots receive:

  • 2024 7th-round draft pick

Initial grade: A-

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

At first blush, this trade feels like a can’t-lose scenario for the Bears. They get a former first-round talent like Harry, who is still just 24-years old and put him in a developing receiver group for a chance at redemption. And all it took was a seventh-round draft pick that won’t materialize for over a year and a half. It’s a throw of a dart and the reward far outweighs the risk. But an A- isn’t perfect and there are holes you can poke with this deal.

The fact of the matter is Harry was on the outs with the Patriots dating back to last summer and would have been cut in due time. Did the Bears really need to give up anything for him, or just wait New England out? Again, a seventh-round draft pick in 2024 is far from breaking the bank but Ryan Poles has shown a lot of patience with moves early in his tenure. Maybe he was a little impatient with this one.

Poles clearly sees something with Harry and wants him for the start of camp, not wanting to wait on a cut. What does he see, though? Harry’s a big-bodied receiver, measuring 6-foot-4 and weighing over 220 pounds. His route tree seems to have developed since his rookie year, where he primarily ran screens, jet sweeps, and hitches, which is encouraging. Now he’s making plays all over the field, but only in spurts. He’s barely eclipsed 300 receiving yards in a season and has missed games due to injury in each year he’s been in the league. That’s not all on the system and what the Patriots were having Harry run.

All in all, Harry’s another reclamation project the Bears have added to their receiver room, joining players such as Tajae Sharpe, Dante Pettis, and Equanimeous St. Brown, in the quest to make the final 53-man roster. Someone has to stick and give Fields a reliable target on the field, right? Perhaps Harry is one of the lucky ones to hang around. Either way, I’m not losing sleep over a seventh-round pick in 2024 if he doesn’t pan out.

 

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